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New Release Review - GODS OF EGYPT

In Ancient Egypt, a mortal teams up with a deposed deity to overthrow a tyrannical god.





Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Alex Proyas

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Bryan Brown, Chadwick Boseman, Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Geoffrey Rush



On paper, Gods of Egypt's conveyor belt of cinematic insanity should be a winner, but save for a few moments of respite courtesy of Yung and Boseman, the only actors who seem conscious that they're in a trainwreck, it's about as much fun as dragging a sphinx across the desert.



It's depressing that in 2016, Hollywood thinks it's perfectly fine to cast Australians as Egyptians, as is the case with this Aussie shot period non-epic, which sunk on its Stateside release back in February and is now being smuggled like a bag of shop-bought popcorn into European cinemas while the continent's populace is distracted by football. On the other hand, it's warming to know a movie as bonkers as Gods of Egypt can still get made in the modern Hollywood system.


Alex Proyas's film is set in a crazy alternative Ancient Egypt in which gods rule the planet, living among the mortals. These gods take the shape of your average Anglo-Saxon, but they're twice the height of humans. This digitally manipulated quirk distracts throughout, a laughable descent into the furthest depths of the uncanny valley. The giant deities bleed gold - a convenient device to keep the film's age rating down - and they can transform into metallic creatures, sprouting tinfoil wings and dog-heads when they need to battle among themselves.

During his coronation ceremony, goody god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is attacked by his brother, dastardly deity Set (Gerard Butler), who plucks out his eyes (the source of his energy, like that glowing widget in Iron Man's chest) and sends him into exile, taking over Egypt and ruling it with an iron fist, one twice as big as a mortal's fist of course. Sick of slavery, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) and his silent but busty girlfriend Zaya (Courtney Eaton) steal one of Horus's eyes, returning it to the deposed god and convincing him to return from his exile and take down Set.


If it's possible for a movie to be in the closet, Gods of Egypt is hiding at the back of Elton John's wardrobe. Proyas's film resembles some lost camp classic from the disco era, the only surviving print of which was rescued from a Fire Island basement, sadly missing all of its dance numbers, and spruced up with cheap modern CG in place of its original stop motion monsters. In other words, all the fun is gone, save for Elodie Yung's goddess Hathor (divine indeed), who enlivens the drabness with some cracking bits of dialogue - "I'm the goddess of too much!" and "Why would I waste all this on a man who can't see?", referring to her former squeeze Horus. Chadwick Boseman is campy fun too as a god so vain he's made dozens of clones of himself.


On paper, Gods of Egypt's conveyor belt of cinematic insanity should be a winner, but save for a few moments of respite courtesy of Yung and Boseman, the only actors who seem conscious that they're in a trainwreck, it's about as much fun as dragging a sphinx across the desert. The broadway musical should be a riot though.

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